How to: Ultimate calibration method for your Nokia N97's compass (side issue with N97 not getting GPS fix at all)

| July 22, 2009 | 15 Replies

One of Mark Guim’s readers, RobertH, may have found the best solution for calibrating the Nokia N97.

We’ve previously seen the Symbian World guys’ “wrist twist”, allowing compass calibration within 3 seconds.

Later, Mark found a more subtle calibration method – but that required turning auto rotate off, which I was not prepared to be doing each time or to give up on auto rotate.

Now, RobertH has probably given us the best method I’ve tried so far.

Once Ovi maps has loaded:

  1. Turn on keylock (switch)
  2. flick your wrist, turning the phone over and back (I’ve found a minimum of 7 times for more or less 100% success rate – I’ve gotten calibration from 3 turns but not always.)



  • It’s really fast – keylock+7 flicks takes about 4 seconds.
  • you don’t look like you’re angry with your phone (Symbian-World method) or some compulsive baton twirler (Nokia method)
  • it’s the most reliable method, going green for calibration almost every attempt, increasing in reliability of calibration as you increase the number of times to turn the phone over and back.

The brilliance of this method is that turning on keylock lets Ovi Maps focus the accelerometer on getting the compass calibrated instead of auto rotating the display. Just as long as you turn keylock off and move the N97 about, be it shaking or just turning, you’ll get a fast compass calibration. You don’t need to have GPS fix for it to work, but the red point must be at the centre of the map. The slightest nudge away from the centre and the compass won’t work. You can easily centre the map by:

  1. scrolling away until your red dot disappears and another reappears in the top right hand corner.
  2. Pressing on the new red dot centres your position.

via thenokiablog

Now this would be all fine and good for sat-nav experience on the N97 and Ovi Maps but that’s if I could get a GPS fix. This brings me onto my side issue:

GPS Broken – No GPS fix on Nokia N97

I cannot get a GPS fix at all from the N97 I’m using. For several days now, I haven’t been able to get a fix. Ovi Maps’ last position is a random street a mile away and Google Maps is stuck at a base station.

It has possibly been like this ever since the 3.01 Ovi Maps update. However, I only noticed lack of GPS properly on Monday as on previous occasions, I didn’t bother waiting longer than 1 minute and just turned off maps, dismissing the lack of GPS fix to being in a car.

I didn’t think too much about it, as from past experiences, I knew being in enclosed areas such as being indoors or in a car/train/bus would make the N97 take a tad longer than it usually does when in open spaces (usually between 5-10 seconds).

Until then, it’s never taken the N97 more than 2 minutes when in a vehicle (and that’s speeding along the motor way at 70mph or inside a train or even inside buildings), and no more than 30 seconds when in an open space. I tried leaving the N97 for an hour outside (clear and sunny so not being affected by clouds) but it did not get GPS fix at all.

When checking satellite status it either shows:

  1. No satellite connection
  2. gives me an error that “GPS works poorly when indoors or in enclosed areas”
  3. Signal strength bars – one to four connections but rapidly disconnects reverting to the error message.

I’ve tried (and failed) positioning method and combinations of:

  • Assisted GPS
  • Integrated GPS
  • Network Based

Not yet tried an external bluetooth to see if it’s a problem with using GPS data and not the integrated GPS, but even so, having to use an external bluetooth receiver is NOT AN OPTION.

I’m not in some GPS blackspot or underground :p other GPS integrated devices work fine.

I reckon it’s a N97 hardware fault. The Voice Dialling is also broken so maybe the trial handset I’m using is a rare exception? Having said that, there are a few entries on google from N97 users who also aren’t getting decent GPS locks or at all.

There’s a possibility that a hard reset may fix it – I will try that before I send this N97 back.

If you do experience similar GPS problems and hard reset doesn’t fix it, I suggest trying to get a replacement from your retailer or bringing in to a Nokia Care Point.


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Category: 5th Edition, How to:, Nokia, Nseries, S60, Symbian, Video

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Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]